By Ugo Aliogo
The Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, has stressed that entrepreneurship is a key driver for economic growth and job creation.
Awosika, stated this at the weekend in Lagos, at the bank’s 125 anniversary flag hoisting.
She noted that as an institution, the bank has been aggressive in terms of helping to develop the minds of entrepreneurs, “apart from funding, because we realise that money is part of the issue, but money is not all the issue involved.”
She noted the bank acknowledged the passion displayed entrepreneurs in the country, even as she pointed out the knowledge gap among entrepreneurs in the country.
Awosika, explained that the bank has continued to invest heavily in organising programmes to develop the skills and knowledge among entrepreneurs.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, noted that the bank has been resilient and supportive through periods of rapid and radical changes.
According to him, First Bank has continued to pioneer and charted the course in the industry and the nation.
Adeduntan, added that supporting host communities to promote sustainable development and putting customers first in all business activities are some of the many secrets of the bank’s long existence.
The CEO further noted that the financial institution is now building on its next 125 years and beyond.
Continuing, Awosika added: “We have certain kind of partnership that we have been involved in. We have worked very closely with the Bank Of Industry (BOI) as a partner to develop the kind of sustainable financing that Small Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) can apply for because what we sell is based on cost at which we get the money.
“If you give us deposit and expect us to pay 13 per cent interest, we cannot give out a loan at anything below that because we are going to add cost.
“Generally, commercial bank’s money is sometimes expensive for SMEs, because of their size and their scale.
“So part of what we have done is not to think about our own profit, but to think about the industry and how to grow the economy which is why we have partnership with organisation such as BOI so that we can organise the type of funding that is at a more manageable cost that will support SMEs in their different spheres. “We are aggressive involved in agriculture because we understand that agro-allied value chain is major to the Nigeria economy.”